Brobel Design Re-Envisions Kids Discover Magazine
[Sponsored] Using MEI's TruEdit platform, Brobel produces issues 32-times faster.
For over 25 years, the Kids Discover team of talented writers, designers, artists, and industry experts has been publishing award-winning educational reading materials for kids, including the print version of Kids Discover magazine.
In 2016, Kids Discover decided to modernize their magazine archive to create relevant experiences that would increase engagement. Between 1991 and 2014, they had published 175 issues with production time averaging almost four months per 20-page issue. By partnering with Brobel, the Kids Discover team hoped to create 88 issues in less than 10 months. It was a huge challenge, as it meant that over 1,000 pages would be in production at all times, with additions and corrections coming from many contributors at once.
Brobel’s Lead Designer and co-owner Ian Brown knew that, in order to deliver high-quality, error-free publications, his team would need an exceptionally smooth workflow that allowed for real-time content updates. They would also need a way to monitor progress and manage content and collaboration within a single system that worked with existing creative production tools like Adobe InDesign and InCopy.
To pull off a job of this magnitude, Brown turned to MEI’s cloud-based content management platform, TruEdit. The solution could support concurrent web, mobile, and print content production from any web browser. It could integrate with InDesign, InCopy, and Microsoft Word, and it supported real-time updates, version control, and project management tools.
“We were excited to help Kids Discover take advantage of existing content, re-envision it, and make it accessible in print, mobile, web, and different languages to help kids learn,” says Brown. “But the aggressive 10-month timeline required us to work with a large geographically dispersed team that would have to track multiple issues and versions at once. And it would be prone to error when transferring so many large files. That’s when we knew we needed TruEdit to help centrally manage each project and keep content flowing.”
With TruEdit up and running, the Brobel creative team of Brown and fourteen authors, six fact checkers, four designers, two editors, and a handful of freelancers launched a new workflow process with the Kids Discover production team. Once a manuscript was approved, it was uploaded to InCopy with embedded HTML links. The team designed the issue using InDesign, and then the InCopy and InDesign files were uploaded and managed in TruEdit.
Using TruEdit, designers were able to work in InDesign at the same time editors worked in InCopy. Proofing and fact-checking went on throughout the entire process, so there was no need to kick off a separate QA project near the end of the production cycle. No one ever needed to perform the same task twice or spend time trying to determine which version was the correct one. No one had to upload and send huge files through email or separate file sharing systems. Brown also appreciated the way that TruEdit allowed for efficient assigning of tasks.
“Being able to assign jobs to people and control what they see is a huge benefit because it keeps everything focused and flowing,” he says. “I love to mentally and visually keep track of the status of the project as it goes through the system. Without TruEdit, the project would have taken at least three-times as long.”
Before implementing TruEdit, Brown’s biggest fear was that an old, error-filled version of a layout would accidentally be sent to press. But with TruEdit as the single source of truth for each file, this just wasn’t possible.
“At the peak of this project, we had over 40 issues in the pipeline at once,” he says, “and to try and keep that straight, sending big files back and forth, using some other service — it would have gotten very messy.”
Despite never having worked with TruEdit before, Brown and his team found the process of implementation to be simple and intuitive. Any time the team experienced a hiccup, they received customer support from MEI right away. “They’d always get back to me within the hour,” he says. “And usually it took just minutes to get help.”
With TruEdit, the team was able to create 88 new issues in less than 10 months. “At our peak, we were working on 40 issues at once,” Brown says. “That’s 32-times faster than it took Kids Discover to create the initial 175 issues. It would have been inconceivable without TruEdit and our brilliant team of authors, editors, and designers.”
“Kids Discover strives to be on the cutting edge in education,” adds Brown. “They want to be on all devices, with content anyone can access anywhere. And TruEdit is definitely helping them meet that goal.”